There was no real surprise when it was announced that Beatson’s Building Supplies would be sponsoring this rather special celebration. Managing Director John Marshall and his son Ross have always been fans of motor sport, particularly rallying.
“I’ve been competing for 15 years now,” said John, “and it all started here at Knockhill. I came up here to attend a corporate day, and I was hooked from that moment on. I started racing in the Ford Fiesta XR 2 series and then the MINI Challenge, but one of the rounds of the MINI series was the Jim Clark Rally. That was such a thrill that I switched from racing to rallying.”
He added: “Colin (McRae) was an inspiration and a hero, so it’s good to put something back into the sport and Beatson’s are proud to be a part of that.”
It was a point echoed by his son Ross: “Rallying provides a complete break from the pressure of running a company like Beatsons’ Building Supplies. We are one of Scotland’s top construction supplies businesses and always aiming to be the best. Coincidentally, many of our trade customers are interested in motor sport too so the motor sport connection is good for business.”
Both John and Ross are highly successful drivers in their own right and they will be joined by John’s brother Robert Marshall who is coming out of ‘rally retirement’ to compete in this unique event too.
All three drivers will be competing in ‘current generation’ Ford Escort Mk2 cars while Gordon Shedden will be competing in a ‘Historic’ period specification Mk2 Escort which will lack some of the sophistication of the other Marshall cars:
“They will have modern 6 speed, flat-shift, two-pedal (clutchless) transmissions, just like my Honda Civic race car, whereas I will have a rally car with an ‘H’ pattern manual gearbox – I’ll have to learn to drive all over again!” said Gordon.
Knockhill Events Director, Stuart Gray commented:
“It’s very rare that you’ll get a title sponsor of an event to participate in this way. Hats off to John, Robert and Ross who, along with sponsoring the Mull Rally, are putting so much back into a sport that they love. The trio, have also been instrumental in getting Gordon into the car – only time will tell if that was a good move or not,” quipped Stuart.
The McRae Rally Challenge sponsored by Beatson’s Building Supplies will feature some of the following:
- 30 mile two-day single-venue rally MSA rally organised by Coltness Car Club
- 3 classes – cars of the Past, Present and Future
- McRae competition cars with up to 22 of Colin’s previous vehicles on display
- Group B exhibits and LIVE demos including a special Audi Quattro demo by Hannu Mikkola and WRC co-driver Arne Hertz
- Star-studded line-up of 40 top names including Jimmy McRae, Alister McRae, Kris Meeke, Gordon Shedden and more…
- Special Ford and Subaru Club features; including exclusive Ford and Subaru track sessions
- Weekend camping and stunt shows from International Stunt Driver Terry Grant
- Other special exhibits, parades and Saturday evening Rally Forum
Tickets for the event are available via the Knockhill website with pre-booking discounts available for all tickets purchased in advance of the 16/17 May event.